Updated: Jun 18
(5/5⭐️) The Unspoken Name is a mix of high fantasy and science fiction that captivates its readers with creativity. I adored every minute of this refreshing read. Bravo A.K. Larkwood for an excellent debut.
Csowre is the Chosen Bride of the Unspoken, destined to die before reaching maturity. But what if there is more purpose to her life than simply being a wasteful sacrifice? When a powerful wizard offers her a chance at something more, she tentatively latches on to his offer. Belthandros Sethennai has spent a lifetime searching for a lost relic, and it seems he cares for nothing else. Eventually, Csowre must decide if she will continue living a meaningless life carrying out Sethennai’s orders, or fight for something more.
I devoured this book the way the “Mouth of Radiance” devours its rogue mages (you’ll understand my metaphor if you read the book). I was immediately hooked, invested in Cswore’s character. I loved her personality, her voice, the struggles she faced, obstacles she overcame. I enjoyed the other POVs too. Larkwood has an uncanny way of crafting her characters into real people.
Most impressive is the way the Larkwood juggles the immense amount of world building with different worlds and their various deities. The structure is laid out in a framework that is understandable through layers and layers of complexity. We are not buried in the beginning by information. Information about the world building is instead sprinkled from chapter to chapter as we embark on Cswore’s journey.
Beneath its many layers is a queer romance, a sweet tale of love and friendship. I found myself rooting for Cswore and Shuthmili from the first moments of their meeting. Their dynamic was written well and felt so realistic.
I haven’t enjoyed a fantasy this much in months. It felt so fresh and original, even though some of its underlying ideas were age-old. I have no idea if this book will have a sequel, but it so, I’m definitely reading it.
I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. Thank you @netgally and @tor